February 17, 2011

Teaching Traits in the Second Grade by Cathy Rencavage

 "I think kids know when something is off in a story." Children are very savvy even at the earliest of ages.

This reminds me of a humorous story involving my second grade students a few years back. After being immersed in craft/trait instruction and investigating the qualities of effective writing, I introduced the students to our new Social Studies Program titled Social Studies Alive. It wasn't long into the first chapter when  one little boy raised his hand and stated, "This author does NOT know how to write!"

Another raised her hand and stated, "I agree, this book should be called Social Studies Dead because there is no voice behind the writing whatsoever!"

Little by little, before I knew it, chaos erupted in my classroom. Hands were shooting up here and there as students angrily shouted out..."There are no sensory details, not one!"

"Talk about redundancy, the rivers this and the rivers that..." Etc..., Etc... Etc... LOL.

As happy as I was that the students realized quality writing when they saw it, (Believe me, my heart was singing a very happy song!) I also realized that we were married to this text for the second half of the semester. Every time I asked the students to pull the book out of their desk I was met with moans and groans and chants about Social Studies Dead!

The moral of this long thread is... students know when something is off in a story. When students are immersed in trait instruction, they gradually begin to read through the lens of a writer and emulate the craft of authentic authors.


1 comment:

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